18B GRAFFITI WALK
On the south end of the Arts District, the spray-painted walls is the region's contribution to graffiti culture thats rooted in 1980's wildstyle, where abstraction of typography is the iconic message and the content is subtext to the form.
It’s a different aesthetic territory than the commissioned street art in the Downtown Project footprint from the Life Is Beautiful Festival. Those murals are faith healers testifying for city revival.
These works are on the roads leading into the 18b Las Vegas Arts District, where the grids between The Strip and the old city show an uneasy transition of angles. It’s fitting that’s where graffiti makes a rocky push to be treated as a legitimate art form that thrives in galleries, while being mumbled about by civic authorities.
The works by locals and the guest artists sometimes make a visual reference to the region. In the day’s light the colors bounce off the walls in bright hues of greens, blues and yellows, then move into a softer glow when the sun sets, before they hide at night. In the better works, images connect to the heated space of alleys, or walls fronting large empty parcels. You can spot symbols of gaming, fragmented type left behind by old signage, or the towering Stratosphere that hovers like a sundial of time and space.
Graffiti art aficionados will like how some of the works are semi-permanent, mixed with walls that keep changing out. That fulfills the primal expression to mark space as a pervasive declaration of existence, a practice that decorates environment as a dare against convention. It’s not a coincidence that this murals are neighbors to bail bondsmen, temporary saviors of urban despair. It also has a kinship with the tattoo parlors in the area, since graffiti is also based on the will to make blank space inventive.
WALK THE STREETS: The graffiti that’s leaked out of the 18b Arts District moves south from a cluster on Coolidge Ave and S. Casino Center Blvd, then into the walls and alleys approximately between W. Charleston, S. Commerce, S. Casino Center Blvd, and W. Imperial. It's a walkable route that circles back to a free parking lot.
Park: Park at Boulder Ave and S. Art Way in the Arts District
Graffiti Stop 1: Small bunglows waiting for redevelopment have been a constant changing gallery. S. Casino Center Blvd between Hoover and Coolidge
Graffiti Stop 2: Cross Charleston and enter first alley on right, then left into another alley to see a wave of graffiti. Exit alley at California, turn right and turn left on Main and walk to Imperial. Turn right and cross street.
Graffiti Stop 3: Enter alley 1/2 block up Imperial. Walk through alley to California
Graffiti Stop 4: Real Results Gym S. Commerce and California
* Umbrage was taken with this post, including how creating a map or the use of a photo is an invasion of copyright. It has been edited. However, with people coming to this district to see art, including what is in public space, marking a path would help people visiting the area from getting lost. Added note, there is limited lighting, so daytime viewing is best.
ABOVE: Gig Depio
“Through the Muddy”
2017-18 480” x 144”
Oil on Canvas
An Online Arts Journal
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G. James Daichendt
February 2 – March 31, 2019
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